Afternoon Baseball

Common-sense ruminations on baseball and culture.

And they know how to squeeze every area -- like by doubling the price of parking near Yankee Stadium.

I come in from the north, park at a Metro-North and take the train to the subway to the game, but it's time-consuming and not practical for many. Plus, with the reduction in seats, fewer upper-deck seats and the likely price increase (though maybe not as much as other teams with new digs), the "common" fan is going to be squeezed.

This may be a bad thing. It probably is, in certain ways. But look at the attendance. For decades, those diehards weren't filling up the seats by themselves. For most of the 1990s, that was the case. It was the case, to cherry-pick, when Roger Maris hit his 61st home run. The Yankees were a draw, but not like Broadway, for instance. There, tickets are going to sell and people are going to be disappointed. Therefore, you'll be charged more (and you'll pay more) because you're in a fight for tickets.

The Yankees, until the last several years, were most times a draw, but one in which a ticket was always available. Other activities could take precedence because, hey, I can go to a game anytime. That's no longer the case. San Francisco proved this when they cut capacity on Pac Bell (or whatever it's called now). Sure, the team was good, but it suddenly became much more difficult to get a ticket. The prestige value went up, and so did interest. Yeah, there were undoubtedly many status-seekers who weren't real fans, but it's better than perennial contenders such as Oakland and Minnesota regularly playing important games in half-filled caverns. While those stadiums surely have the diehards (in part because the facilities are terrible), all the empty seats actually imply the fanbase doesn't care, and isn't as worthy of a team as others.

So, let's say there's a loss of fan camaraderie from losing some diehards (an effect that has already happened, from many anecdotal accounts). The net increase in bodies, whether they be bandwagoners or true fans, may be enough to offset any change in demographics.
It's certainly good enough financially for the Yankees, and they are, for better or worse, a team of celebrities. Maybe having an audience of them is the next logical step.

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2 Responses to “The Yanks can make a buck”

  1. # Anonymous bumfromjersey

    I am ambivalent about the whole situation. I would consider myself a huge Yankees fan but I have only been to a handful games in my life. It was not for the reasons you outlined but rather for others such as I live in New Jersey and I don't like New York. Other Yankees fans might have the same reasons or the reasons you outlined but I don't think the lack of diehards not going to the game justifies the ticket increases. The Yankees have been averaging well over 45,000 fans a game the last three or four years and last year they were averaging over 52,000 fans. Thats nearly 90% of seats being filled each night. That is not too shabby dude.

    But like I said I am ambivalent. I don't mind the Yankees increasing ticket prices because they pay outrageous salaries and they need some way to pay for overrated talent. Baseball is a business and as a business their primary goal is to maximize profit. Fewer seats, more luxury boxes, and fewer parking spaces at an increased rate will do that. It sucks for the everyday Yankees fan but we live in a capitalist country and we all just have to learn to deal with it.  

  2. # Blogger James

    Oh, I don't agree the increases are justified. But I think the Yankees can look at things and say, hey, raising prices hasn't driven anyone away. In fact, it's had the opposite effect, and as you point out, that's a good thing because they have a payroll that's tremendously higher than it was at the turn of the decade.

    At least the Yanks have teamed up with StubHub. There's so many people who take on more tickets than they can use. It should encourage a wider distribution, although hopefully not all to Red Sox fans for those series.  

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